FORMER football referee Martin Atkinson pulled on the green Whitehead Tour de Gwent top as he lead out the field for the 52-mile silver route in aid of Newport-based St David's Hospice Care.

Mr Atkinson, aged 51, now retired from officiating at Premier League matches, has switched to training match day referees and joined event sponsor managing director Rhys Morton as they crossed the starting line at St Cadoc's, Caerleon, on Sunday.

Hundreds of riders, some wearing black armbands as mark of respect on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, took part in the cycling event on routes ranging from the 93-mile platinum to the three-mile children's.

South Wales Argus: Tour de Gwent 2022. Picture: DBPR

The annual Whitehead Tour de Gwent, sponsored by Newport-based Whitehead Building Services, attracts hundreds of riders and raises thousands of pounds for St David's Hospice Care.

Mr Atkinson said: "The reason I am supporting St David’s Hospice Care is because of the wonderful work they continue to do to support so many people. Visiting the hospice and seeing firsthand the care they offer left me humbled by just how much impact they have on people’s lives.

"The staff are so caring and the service they provide is invaluable. After my visit there I realised just how lucky and fortunate I am, I must admit it touched me, and if I can do anything to help and support the wonderful work the hospice does then I try and do that."

Newport-headquartered Whitehead Building Services Managing Director Rhys Morton, who as well as sponsoring the event also takes part, said: "We were thrilled to once more have Martin's support for the Whitehead Tour de Gwent. Martin is a renowned national and international football referee and an accomplished cyclist. We're honoured to have him take part and to help raise funds for St David's Hospice Care."

Event organiser Tania Ansell, of St David's Hospice Care, said: "It's fabulous that Martin, who has visited our hospice in Newport and is a great supporter of the hospice, is again taking part in the Whitehead Tour de Gwent."

Ms Ansell, thanking this year's sponsors, riders, volunteers and supporters, said:"By taking part in the Tour de Gwent you are supporting the work of St David’s Hospice Care, which means you are making a positive difference to patients and their families all throughout Newport, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and South & Mid Powys."

  • For a full set of pictures from the event, click through the gallery above.